Named and Dedicated to God

We dedicated Honeybee to the Lord yesterday morning and completed her name by adding a middle name to her Ethiopian first name. Before God and our church community, we made a vow to raise her in the Christian faith. We would have baptized Honeybee, but her grandmother confirmed that in the tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Honeybee was baptized on the eightieth day following her birth.

We gave Honeybee the middle name “Evangeline,” which means “Bearer of Good News,” and not just any good news, but the Good News of Jesus Christ. As with Dimples, we kept her given first name which has the beautiful meaning of “Redemption.” Choosing her name was no easy task.

On Thursday I sent Russ an email with the subject line: PDA – Name our daughter. I often send him emails with items to enter into his PDA, and I put PDA in the subject line so he knows it is something important. A friend told me I should write a blog post titled, “Ooops, I forgot to name my daughter.” Well, we didn’t actually forget; we just hadn’t done it. Life was moving along and Honeybee didn’t seem the least bit bothered that she didn’t have a middle name.

To be perfectly honest, naming children has never come easily for us (okay, those of you who know us in real life can stop chuckling now). For the past three months we have had lists of various names on the refrigerator. Periodically we have crossed one off, or I have made a new list. We’ve talked about names off and on, but hadn’t settled on the perfect one until just last Saturday.

We had several requirements for Honeybee’s middle name. It had to have three or more syllables because both her first and last names are short. It could not have certain letter sounds that clashed with her first or last name. It had to have some biblical meaning. It could not have negative connotations to anybody in the family – which with twelve other people meant a lot of names were eliminated. (I should add, never ask your children for their opinions about names if you don’t want to hear what they have to say. Our kids made it perfectly clear that some of the names I liked were not among their favorites.) It couldn’t be a name we had already used in some other form, which eliminated one of my favorite names, Rosemary, because we have variations on both Rose and Mary already. Lastly, her name had to be beautiful.

Evangline has special meaning to us because it fit all of the requirements set forth above. In addition, the first job I had after college graduation was working at a Salvation Army women’s residence called The Evangeline. The residence was named for the daughter of William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army. I not only worked at The Evangeline, but Russ and I lived there as one of the requirements of my job. That was a special time in our lives, 24 years ago, so the name Evangeline has been with us for a long time.

On Sunday, almost all of us dressed in our traditional Ethiopian clothes, and as you can see, Noah and Samuel made up for not wearing theirs by dressing quite nicely (note that Noah is even wearing a tie). Mimi also wore her traditional dress but had changed by the time we gathered for the picture. After the service, many of our friends gathered at our house to celebrate with a potluck brunch. We had a wonderful day and Honeybee Evangeline loved every minute of it.

Rejoice with us.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Andrea
    October 13, 2008

    What a beautiful picture. I have always loved the name Evangline. It is so unique.

  2. Betina
    October 13, 2008

    congratulations! Everyone looks so happy! The Ethiopian clothing is beautiful. So is little B.

  3. Laura
    October 14, 2008

    Wow, you have really come a long way in making quick decisions…remember trying to buy lamps on Whidbey Island after you got married?! Need I say more my dear sister! I love her name and what a personal history it has.

  4. Kathrin
    October 14, 2008

    What a beautiful family.

  5. darci
    October 15, 2008

    what a special day! and what a beautiful name..I believe names are so important, too..your family is beautiful.


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